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User Name Thread Name Subject Posted
sing4peace What is The Tradition? (296* d) RE: What is The Tradition? 09 Sep 09

Glueman: "That's the trouble with words, you don't know whose mouths they've been in". Great line - is it yours?

I have been contemplating what it means to be a "traditional" singer for a long time. I learned a lot of songs from my father,who learned them from his father. Some of them were sea chanteys my dad used when he was the botswain on a square rigged boat. Some of them were rockabilly numbers that required a bass and drums.

I don't read music but I know how to play "jazz" chords. I sing songs on picket lines in the tradition of Woody Guthrie and I sing songs in concert halls in the tradition of Ray Charles. I know a lot of verses to Lady Dysie (Lady Diamond) and sang that to my little girl when she was a baby (I know - it has a horrible verse about cutting out the kitchen boy's heart - ewwwwww! but she just fell asleep because of the minor chords as all babies do). So where does that leave me?

I've got a gig coming up in a couple of months for which I'm being billed as a "traditional" singer. I've tried to get the venue to change this as I'm worried that folks'll show up expecting me to break out the Child Ballads and John Jacob Niles and they are probably going to get more Hank Williams and Malvina Reynolds (uh, oh Michael - don't worry, I don't sing Little Boxes). I'm worried that people will be upset thinking they are getting one thing and getting another all together. I guess I'll just have to win them over with some good singing.

I am more like Lizzie up there - I like a song because it's a good song - time will tell what tradition I'm following. Meanwhile, I'll just keep accruing good songs.

Nice chattin' with you all-

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